There are three stages of pityriasis rosea, and each stage has different symptoms. However, you should know that not everyone experiences each of the three stages.
When these symptoms disappear, rashes begin to appear.
At this stage, a large salmon or pink colored patch starts to show up on the neck, chest or back. It usually starts out as an oval shape that grows bigger after several days. It can be as little as two centimeters in diameter and increases to as big as 10 centimeters in diameter. In some cases, it may manifest in the face, scalp or genitals. Most people notice that it takes the shape of a Christmas tree.
Just after the herald patch stage, a rash occurs. It usually appears a few days or weeks after the Christmas tree patch or herald shows up. The rash lasts up to several weeks. The rash is small, raised with scaly patches around 0.5 to 1.5 centimeters long. They can appear on the chest, back, arms, neck and upper thighs but not on the face. Dark skinned people get gray or dark brown colored patches while light-skinned people experience reddish or pink spots. The rash is not usually painful, but it can be very itchy. This is especially true if you sweat or wear clothing that is tight.
The herald patch and the other skin patches usually fritter away after 12 weeks. Sometimes it may take as many as five months before they disappear entirely. After the rashes fritters away, you may have areas of lightness or darkness on the skin that may take several months to fade. It is very rare for it to leave a scar behind.
The specific cause of pityriasis rosea is not known. It is believed that the rash may be triggered by viral infection particularly a strain of herpes virus. However, not the herpes virus that causes a cold sore. Pityriasis rosea is not contagious.
No skin or blood test indicates that you have pityriasis rosea. Doctors only have to follow the pityriasis rosea healing stages and take a careful physical examination and history of the skin. In the early stages, your dermatologist can perform blood tests or biopsies in to see whether the rash is from pityriasis rosea or if it is from other skin diseases. Often, the herald patch usually indicates that the condition is pityriasis rosea.
The first herald patch usually looks like ringworm. Moreover, it has been mistaken for psoriasis and eczema because of the similar scaly patches but not in the same distribution as pityriasis rosea. It may be misdiagnosed as:
If you contact pityriasis rosea as early as within the first 15 weeks of the pregnancy, there might be a higher chance of losing the pregnancy. Furthermore, children born from affected mothers are usually born prematurely. Since there is little intervention to be done concerning the condition, affected mothers can only be closely monitored for potential problems. Other times, your doctor can consider using acyclovir in treating pityriasis rosea.
Pityriasis rosea does not usually need treatment because it resolves spontaneously. Treatment is only required if the rash does not have significant symptoms. It clears up on its own in a period of six to nine weeks without medical help.
Itching, which is the primary common symptom, can be managed by a topical steroid cream, oral antihistamine or ultraviolet light. The duration of the rash will not be shortened, but the itchiness will be gone. Antihistamines usually cause drowsiness and sedation and help you have a better sleep at night. However, you are not advised to operate or drive any heavy machinery while under this medication.
You will have to avoid hot baths and showers and generally being overheated such as reducing your exercise routines.
Reduction of the duration of pityriasis rosea has been shown by the use of off-label antibiotic and antiviral medications such as erythromycin and Famvir or Zovirax. However, they have been proven not to be as effective in treating Pityriasis rosea and are not usually required during treatment.
Ultraviolet B light therapy usually involves a controlled exposure of UV B light therapy to the affected skin for a few minutes at regular intervals under the supervision of a skin specialist.
There is nothing much that can be done to prevent pityriasis rosea since the cause is not yet fully known.
Once you contract pityriasis rosea, you will have to let it take its course. You will have to use the available remedies to ease the discomfort and avoid the glares from strangers. Rashes can be covered up with loose cotton clothing. If you try one remedy and it does not work for you, try another one. The Christmas tree does not last forever; it will clear up in the few coming months!